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MBTS Media and Business Tracking Solution: Francesco Mariola

Measuring advertising effectiveness is more important than ever; now a local entrepreneur makes it possible.

Monique Verduyn

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Francesco Mariola of MBTS

“How do I measure advertising results?” It’s a question asold as advertising itself, and a conundrum best summed up by the Britishfounder of multinational company Unilever, Lord Leverhulme: “Half the money Ispend on advertising is wasted; the problem is I don’t know which half.” Marketers spend billions each year in the quest to keepgrowing their brand equity and market share. With our own economy in a slump,and a worldwide recession in full swing, companies are under increasingpressure to deliver a measurable return on their advertising investment. In thepast, the 80/20 principle applied and you could spend 20% of your budget on“nice-to-haves”. Today, that no longer stands. Companies need to spend only onmarketing that works.

The problem, however, says Francesco Mariola, CEO of Mediaand Business Tracking Solution (MBTS), is that advertisers often base theirmedia placement on ‘gut feel’. “In today’s age of technology sophistication andadvancements, such practices are outdated and fall far short of meeting thedemands of a hostile, constantly evolving business environment,” he says. In 2007, Mariola founded MBTS and focused on developinghis web-based software application of the same name that determines theefficacy of all communication spend against actual transactional or sales data,regardless of whether they run concurrently.

Research &development

MBTS contracted KPMG to define and develop the businessrequirements, as well as the system’s functional specifications. The solutionis built on a platform that conforms to international standards and is patentedglobally through Spoor & Fisher. Mariola developed, tested and refined MBTS in thedemanding FMCG, retail, wholesale, chain store and cellular environments. It’sa solution that delivers scientific results, increases a marketer’sdeliverables and converts budget into tangible results while enhancing everymarketing effort. MBTS provides intelligence through expenditure profiling,trend analysis and forensic auditing, by converging media, sales and marketinginto one business environment. “Companies know where they are spending their advertisingbudgets, but they have no idea how effective that advertising is,” Mariolasays. “Some works brilliantly, some is utterly useless. People just don’t knowhow to determine what works and what doesn’t.” Then there is the matter of saturation. Advertisers spendR1 million on a campaign and their sales double; they up that spend to R3million and their sales triple; but at some point, the return on investmentwill suddenly plateau. That is when saturation point is reached. The problem isthat advertisers do not know whether saturation has been reached at R3 millionor at R19 million; they could be wasting R16 million marketing spend.

Adding value tomarketing

“Certain advertising platforms and mediums work betterthan others. Prime time shows like Sewende Laan have excellent ARs, but if theviewers are not my target audience, that means nothing to me and it willcertainly not generate sales of my products. And sales is ultimately all thatmatters.” With the ad industry already having been impacted by therecession and advertisers expecting their marketers and agencies to be moreresults driven, Mariola says the response to MBTS has been positive as peoplerealise how much value the solution brings to advertisers. “South African companies are not slashing marketing budgetsso much as demanding that their return on advertising spend is maximised.What’s even more positive is that it is possible to gain 20% to 30% more returnon the same spend if you are able to determine what works best for yourproduct.

Measuring effectiveness

MBTS tracks advertising results by region, store, productand category. “The key is to determine the effectiveness of all communicationspend against actual transactions, regardless of whether communication typesrun concurrently. We rank all communication efforts against actual delivery bymost effective to least effective; identify the marketing saturation pointswhere no matter the spend, transactions no longer react positively and create‘waste’; measure the impact of competitor activity; and also the effects thatadvertised lines have on lines that are not advertised.”

Generating newbusiness

In the banking sector, MBTS has enabled clients tomaximise the insights gained from marketing campaigns to draw new accounts. Forexample, advertising a new type of cheque account can impact on a number ofother transactions across the bank. “We are able to verify the effects thatadvertising a particular product or service can have on an organisation’s otherlines. We can also help companies compare communication placed againsthigh-margin products with that spent on low-margin lines. It makes sense forthem to spend more on products that yield a greater margin.” FMCG clients are able to see how many units of a productwere sold on which day, through which outlet, as a result of a marketing drive.Data is uploaded directly from all channels across the business on a dailybasis. This means that problems can be recognised and remedied immediately, notafter three months when the budget has already dried up.

Media and Business Tracking Solution

(MBTS)

player

Francesco Mariola

Est. 2007

Contact: www.mbts1.com

+27 11 615 6006

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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